GajiGesa, a fintech startup that provides Earned Wage Access (EWA) and other services to workers in Indonesia, has added strategic investors to help it launch new services and expand its user base. Its new backers include OCBC NISP Ventura, the venture capital arm of one of Indonesia’s largest banks, and the founders of the take-out coffee chain Kopi Kenangan. GajiGesa has also recently extended its activities beyond the corporate space with a new employee management system for SMEs and micro-SMEs. Called GajiTim, the app is aimed at companies with between five and 100 workers and has gained more than 50,000 active users since its launch in mid-March.
The amount of GajiGesa’s latest funding was not disclosed. The startup, launched last year by husband-and-wife team Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska, announced a $ 2.5 million funding round led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures in February. During the last quarter, GajiGesa’s corporate customer base doubled to more than 60 companies, representing tens of thousands of workers.
GajiGesa is part of a new wave of startups focused on digitizing the 60 million small businesses in Indonesia. Others include digital accounting applications like BukuWarung and BukuKas for very small businesses, including neighborhood stores; Moka and Jurnal for large companies; and CrediBook, which focuses on B2B businesses.
Prior to starting GajiGesa, Agrawal’s experience consisted of being Uber’s first employee in Asia, while Malinowska was the former product manager at Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures and the alternative credit scoring platform LenddoEFL. They created GajiGesa to provide workers with an alternative to payday lenders and other high interest lenders by giving them immediate access to their earned wages, instead of waiting for bi-monthly or monthly paychecks. (Other companies offering similar services around the world include London-based Square, Wagestream and Gusto) Based on a recent survey, GajiGesa said more than 75% of workers at companies that use its EWA feature have stopped using informal lenders for short-term needs.
The founders of Kopi Kenangan, the take-out coffee chain backed by investors like Sequoia Capital India, Alpha JWC and Horizons Ventures, have become prolific angel investors in other startups, and their network will help GajiGesa onboard more employers. , Agrawal told TechCrunch. . Its strategic partnership with OCBC NISP Bank, meanwhile, will help it launch more services.
“One thing we realize is that a lot of employees who use the earned salary aspect of GajiGesa expect more types of products, be it a loan product or an insurance product, and that is there an opportunity arises to partner with a bank, ”Agrawal told TechCrunch. About two-thirds of the Indonesian population are “unbanked,” meaning they don’t have a bank account, which also gives OCBC NISP Bank a chance to welcome new customers.
“Having a bank as a partner allows us to structure the right interest rate, the right size of products and create a bigger impact,” said Malinowska.
GajiGesa does not charge an interest rate and does not require collateral, as users are pre-approved by their employers. Instead, companies can choose to charge a fee or offer GajiGesa as part of a benefit package. When a worker withdraws money, GajiGesa asks why they are using the Earned Salary Access feature and present this data to companies in an anonymous and aggregated format.
This allows employers to see what the needs of their work base are and potentially develop new benefits. For example, one of the top three reasons workers use EWA is to pay their medical bills. “This is a strong signal to an employer that if you try to retain employees, especially a blue collar employee, even a basic insurance product could be very appealing to the family,” Agrawal said.
GajiGesa also found that many workers, especially in Tier 2-3 cities, use his EWA to finance family businesses instead of taking loans for working capital.
“Many families in Indonesia often have a member working in a factory for a fixed salary, and they have micro-industries at home, for example making wafers or stickers to sell in their communities or online,” said Agrawal. “They were going to loan loan sharks before or private lenders at very high rates so they could run their business, and now the family member who works in a factory can withdraw capital to support the family business so that they don’t. don’t need to go to loan sharks. “
GajiTim was launched because the startup received a lot of inbound inquiries from SMEs, such as restaurants, small factories, and general stores, which have a lot of part-time workers. These companies often rely on paper systems, including punched time cards, to track work hours and calculate paychecks. But that often leads to conflicts, so having an app that counts working hours and wages in real time gives workers more transparency and helps companies save time. GajiTim also has access to GajiGesa’s flagship EWA service and enables it to bring more customers to the platform.